AZT300 2010 p.1

A few days off the bike after my effort on the Arizona Trail and I still don’t know if I’ve got a recap fully constructed in my head. In short, I spent two days in the desert pedaling, pushing, eating, and dreaming. 148 miles and almost 19,000 feet of climbing says the GPS. Those miles were hard earned and thoroughly enjoyed and I plan on gnawing them for a long time to come. Late Saturday night/early sunday morning I was forced to pull out by an extremely aggravated hip flexor on my right side. I couldn’t lift my leg, couldn’t walk unaffected, but riding seemed to aggravate it the least. Unfortunately I knew that simply not walking wasn’t going to be an option and that more time on the trail just meant more injury.

The last two days, I spent many hours thinking about what I ‘could’ be doing right now rather than staring at the computer, namely riding a bike. It really started to affect me when I started looking at the splits and times from the trackleaders page. In my mind (and backed up by the replays and splits from the spot units), Brendan, Lee and I were moving at a very good pace on Saturday. We were within a hour of some people that left from the same spot we camped 6 hours before us. I felt strong, healthy, and well fed, looking forward to more miles but the hip wasn’t having any of it. Now I’m watching Lee’s spot tracker get closer and closer, cheering him on, and wishing that I was out there with him.

Happily though, I cannot wait for next year. The difficulty of this trail exceeded expectation and happily, I was able to keep my mental and physical focus pointed in a positive direction,  chomping away mileage, and thinking about what to do next. Exodus from the route/race only entered into my mind as I was literally frozen stiff on the ground with my face in the dirt and in agony. Thankfully, Brendan, Dave, and Lee were nearby to help me safely get out of that situation and back home.

I was extremely happy with the bike and choice of gear throughout the race. Only a few small things would change if I had to do it again tomorrow (believe me, I would if I could). I’ve thought a lot about little changes and have  a laundry list of projects to get cracking on.

Mapping and navigation also worked very well. I spent a lot of time staring at maps, studying the track and cues and it helped immensely to have internalized the route a bit. I ended up laying the information from the cue sheets down on the track as waypoints so that at every turn or direction, I had a visual cue on the track. I was able to trust the track and spent minimal time route finding.

Nutrition and hydration kept the machine fed and working pretty well. I took the approach that robot food was going to be my friend and it didn’t let me down. I’m guessing it helped me to make up for a bit of the lack of fitness by keeping the tank topped off and operating smoothly. I was worried about water in the weeks prior to the event but the weather made for cool temps that helped to keep water consumption reasonable.

Fitness is where I would have liked to perform a bit better. On the bike, I generally felt good but I know I could have felt better. I think I might have been able to avoid the hip troubles if I were more disciplined about cross training and working muscle groups besides those needed in cycling. My hip injury doesn’t prevent me from riding in the least, but walking/hiking/pushing is severely effected. I’ve got to get back to stretching, yoga, and who knows what to help balance everything out.

I can’t wait to get back out in the desert. Exploration into new lands is right at the front of the brain at the moment. Tick, tock….

AZT 2.0 – Bikepacking

With the AZT, as with any other self supported, multi day events comes the logistical game of what to carry and how. The following setup is adopted and adapted from many similar setups that can be found at bikepacking.net.

Start off with this, Siren John Henry with constant radius toptube, tried and true geometry and mix of durable and well performing parts.

Then add everything else you need for multiple days on a bike. Its amazing that with everything we carry around and have in our daily lives, that it can be reduced to a few pounds of elemental things.

Bike

  • Siren John Henry, Semi-custom with extra bottle mounts, and stronger downtube.
  • Stans Wheels, tubeless
  • Sram X9 drivetrain
  • Avid Elixer Brakes
  • Ergon grips and barends for multiple hand position comfort

On the Bike

  • Carousel Seat bag (with extra mojo from SirenMary as she used for her Tour Divide run)
    • 40 degree sleeping bag
    • Bivy
    • Aircore sleeping pad
  • Jandd Frame bag in front Triangle
    • Tool kit including:
      • Multi-tool
      • Leatherman
      • Patches
      • Tire boot
      • Tire Levers
      • Chain links, zip ties, miscellaneous bolts
      • Chain lube
    • Two tubes
    • Small Stans bottle
    • Pump
    • Sunscreen
    • Chamois lube
    • Hand Sanitizer
    • Ibuprofen, allergy meds, vitamins
    • Maps/Que sheets
  • Handlebar mounted stuff sack
    • Spare shorts
    • Long Underwear
    • Long Sleeve shirt
    • Wool Socks
    • Light Jacket
    • Hat
  • GPS Unit GPSmap 60CSx
  • 2 Water bottles, 1 HEED, 1 Perpetuem
  • Most likely will add a food carrying/easy access type of bag to mount on the handlebars, or the toptube/stem junction.

Pack

  • Osprey Talon 22 (bikepackers standard)
  • Wools socks: 1 thick, 1 thin
  • 6 Liter bladder
  • Camera
  • Lightweight hat with full bill for sun protection
  • Cook kit; titanium mug, esbit stove, fuel tabs, lighter, rag, utensil
  • Tooth brush, tooth paste
  • First Aid kit
  • Spare batteries
  • Spot Unit
  • Food, food, food

On Me

  • Helmet
  • Princtontec Eos Light
  • Glasses; dark lenses, light lenses
  • Shorts
  • Jersye
  • Arm warmers
  • Leg warmers
  • Gloves
  • Wool socks
  • Shoes

I’m pretty confident and comfortable with this setup; It’s balanced very well on the bike and the accessibility/access to the things I use/need is pretty well engrained in my brain

Start and end with desert plants

Special Delivery

Thumbing the refresh button on the UPS tracker for the past few days in anticipation of the arrival of the latest goods from Siren World Headquarters. Brendan pulled out something special for me in the fit and finish department. I’ve put in plenty of hours on Trauco’s generation 1 and 2 and even use the one-of-a-kind XtraSiren as a daily driver. All of those bikes take a beating and show their age. Trauco #2’s powdercoat job looks like it was dragged around through the desert (it was) and I have been itching to try something new.

We’ve had some heated debates about color choice and this hits the mark as something we were both really excited about. The Brown truck showed up late yesterday afternoon (damn late delivery) and I stood patiently outside the truck as I listened while the driver fumbled around through what seemed like the entire truck (he was in there long enough to make a few phone calls and answer some email?) Carefully unwrapping and eager to finally see the end result, the final product is pretty fantastic. A clear green powder over phosphate treated raw tubing. Weld areas shown through the candy green. Jolly Green John Henry was ready to get decked out in dangly bits. I ended the night one shifter cable, and a front derailleur shim short of complete. A quick trip to the LBS and trail time first thing in the morning.

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Ride photos to follow

AZT300_1.0

For years, I’ve enjoyed reading about Scott’s adventures all over the state and the Western states. Of particular interest has always been the Arizona Trail. Since putting together the AZT300, I’ve always thought to myself through the winter that I needed to do it, pedal the Southern 300 miles of the trail system, and perhaps one day, do all 750 miles from Mexico to Utah. This year brought me the time and drive to put my name in the hat and toe the line on the 23rd. Joining me will be one SirenBrendan and one DaveSEE on the adventure. Hopefully good mojo and safety in numbers will help ward off any catastrophic failure, or self-destruct demons.

I’m looking forward to seeing parts of the trail that I’ve yet to explore, pushing through some tough (physically and mentally) times and hanging out with some good friends in the desert.

Black Canyon Trail

Traveled up to Phoenix this weekend to explore the Black Canyon Trail System.

Thanks to mtbikeaz.com for posting this

Its an area that I’ve always looked at on the way north, Prescott or Flagstaff, and thought there must be some primo trail in that area. As it turns out, the route is well established and almost completely singletrack. The ride was organized by Devo, Cooper, and Yurisan, and joined by Walker, Spiker and I. 30 miles of continuous singletrack and numerous water crossings was the order of the day, served up well done, and resulting in 6 fully satisfied customers.

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Festival En El Barrio Viejo

Barrio Viejo

Spring in Tucson is amazing and things like this make it even better. Clear skies, cool temps, gentle breezes and music in the streets were all a part of the KXCI Benefit Concert in Barrio Viejo. Calexico was the headliner and lead out by Salvador Duran and Sergio Mendoza Y La Orkesta. The family met up with friends and co-workers.

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Family Visit 2.0

On Easter Sunday, we ventured to the Northwest side of town into Catalina State Park. The area was packed with families and the main trails were filled. Our guide led us to Alamo Canyon, a lesser known trail with abundant wildflowers, Western Catalinas views, drainages, and plenty of fresh water to cool off in.

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Thanks Logan and Brian for sharing this fantastic location. We were invited to dinner with their family where we dyed eggs, hid, and hunted easter eggs, and ate pie. Flakey, delicious pie…